Feeds

Elon Musk's Falcon 1 launches successfully

Fourth time's the charm

The Power of One Infographic

Multimillionaire tech visionary Elon Musk has finally achieved a long-sought goal on the fourth attempt, as his privately-funded SpaceX Falcon 1 is now circling the Earth. The rocket, launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific, reached orbital velocity at 00:26 UK time.

Falcon 1 launches from Kwajalein

The pocket rocket which everyone's glad to see.

"This is a great day for SpaceX and the culmination of an enormous amount of work by a great team," said Musk, who is CEO and CTO of SpaceX.

"The data shows we achieved a super precise orbit insertion—middle of the bull's-eye — and then went on to coast and restart the second stage, which was icing on the cake."

The Falcon 1 is an entirely new rocket, designed from scratch by SpaceX with a view to providing reliable and cheap access to space for smaller satellites. In this case it carried no payload, just a hexagonal aluminum alloy "payload mass simulator" massing approximately 165 kg. The company is also working on a bigger rocket design, the Falcon 9, which could carry astronauts into space in future using the planned "Dragon" capsule.

Today's success won't merely gladden hearts at SpaceX. The US space agency, NASA, expects on current plans to be without any way of launching its astronauts into orbit from 2010. The new generation of manned NASA ships - the Ares rockets and Orion capsules - are supposed to come on line in the middle of the next decade, but delays to those programmes have already occurred.

NASA will be pleased to see Musk's private space effort getting back on track, as it expects to buy space lift from him under so-called Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) procurements.

More details of the launch are available from SpaceX here - with video soon, according to the company. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.